Nationalism and Regionalism

In Chapter 7, Painter and Jeffrey talk about nations, nationalism, and how both have evolved over time, going from simple definitions to becoming something complex and difficult to define. In talking about nations, there are three perspectives commonly used by political geographers. The first, primordial, is the perspective that says nations have always been in existence, and have evolved over time with human nature, and though it has fallen out of use today, is important because it has shaped the latter two ideals. Second, the ethno-symbolist perspective is the idea that most nations have come into being alongside ethnicity, such that the Spanish people, for example, have a shared list of traits that defines someone as being Spanish. This list of six characteristics, then, defines what is known as an ethnie, an early community that the nation evolved out of. This differs from the primordial perspective mainly through noting that, while ethnicity may have always been there, the nation came into existence only when the state was introduced. Last is the modernist perspective, which state that ethnicity and nation are wholly different ideas, and, while similar to the ethno-symolist perspective in stating that nations came into existence alongside states, differs through the idea of which, ultimately, came first. While ethno-symbolists claim the contrary, modernist perspectives explain that the state established nations through banal nationalism, the process of indoctrinating citizens with a shared history and culture through the strategic placement of flags and the like, and then including them into said nation.

Nationalism, on the other hand, is separate from the actual nation, in that it is the process of social movements being taken because one is part of a nation. For a better example of this, someone displaying patriotism could be thought of. While the man is part of a nation, being an American, in the same way that being a Spaniard makes someone a part of that nation, nationalism is the patriotism he displays, supporting America in decisions that are made because those decisions are for America, and he is an American. Circular logic aside though, nationalism itself has two distinct types: civic and ethnic nationalism. Civic nationalism is simply state led nation-building, while ethnic nationalism deals with the transformation from belief in a nation to a political process behind it. Regionalism, similar to nationalism, deals with movements taken on behalf of an area, but rather than being part of a group as specific as before, they are expanded by relaxing the rules, creating the region. This can be as large or small an area as needed, such as Eastern Europe or the Midwest could be regions in the same way that the suburbs of a particular city could be a region. Analysis of them is divided into multiple perspectives, too, with these three perspectives being pre-scientific, discipline-centered, and critical. The pre-scientific perspective nearly equates regions with nations, treating them as just another place to be studied. The discipline-centered perspective is similar, but notes that regions came about only through research, and would not have been noticed otherwise. Finally, the critical perspective states that regions are not the result of autonomous processes or research, but rather, the result of a struggle for space, and welfare in an area.

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